Norco says they have a distinctly Canadian take on cross, so it’s hard to argue with what’s behind their completely new Threshold cyclocross family of both carbon & aluminum frames. A simple checklist of key cross racing skills seems like a good place to start for the reworked bikes. The Threshold gets improved geometry over its predecessor for more predictable handling & technical prowess, with it being especially designed to perform better in deep mud (& sand).
And as much as it is a CX race bike, Norco seems to remember not to take the Threshold too seriously. A lot of cross bike buyers in North America are going to toe the line at races. But most actual cross bike rides wind up hitting local trails, and more often than not end with some nice hoppy rehydration. Check out how Norco trains after the jump…
Norco Threshold C carbon cyclocross bikes
Norco’s carbon Threshold cyclocross family started back in 2012, but has come along way since then. We race tested the latest generation Threshold SL a couple of cross seasons ago and came away remarking at how the bike felt fast and nimble, while still being surprisingly stable. Well Norco says they’ve worked some new magic on the bike’s geometry. The new Threshold keeps the short toptube & short chainstays of the previous bike while ever so slightly slacking the headtube & adding more fork offset to improve its steering stability especially in deep mud. We suspect that should help in the long sweeping turns too, the only time we felt it hard to maintain our line on the last Threshold.
The new Threshold also gets a tiny bit lower bottom bracket (just an extra 2.5mm to 70mm of drop) that is said to work with the just 0.25° more slack headtube to lend more stability when the track gets more steep & technical. It even gets a 1/4° steeper seattube, which corresponds to our desire to slide the saddle forward to better weight the front end.
The changes are all pretty minimal, which is actually a good thing. We were happy with the racy feel of the bike before. Small updates look to target the only weaknesses we saw, while keeping the overall feel. Still quick. Still nimble. Now with a bit more stability.
The updated Threshold gets the same specialized layup design to balance vertical compliance & lateral stiffness developed on Norco’s road bikes. Called ARC Race, it provides thin, slightly bowed seatstays. Interestingly, the new carbon bike’s introduction debuts a Threshold C level frameset only. And not one with the more advanced hi-mod fibers we saw in the current bike’s Threshold SL offering. So we’re not sure about weight change from the current SL to the new C. And we probably expect a lighter update down the road.
Of course the entire bottom end of the bike is oversized, almost overbuilt to give the bike stiff power transfer. It also should make for predictable handling even over rough, rutted cross courses. The Threshold also carries over size-specific tubing shapes to try to ensure that smaller frames aren’t too stiff for light riders & larger sizes step up to the demands of bigger riders as well. Also carried over are the Gizmo adaptable internal routing & Armorlite resins that promise improved impact resistance.
One routing update is the ability to run a stealth dropper, which we haven’t seen take off yet for cross. But we’ve been hearing more & more whispers. A low-direct mount integrated chain guide lends security for single ring setups.
The new Threshold does make a few tech updates, now switching over to 12mm thru-axles front & rear, and getting spec’d with DT Swiss’ benchmark RWS axles. The bike goes forward with flat mount disc brakes as well. That lets riders size down from the stock 160mm rotors to 140s if they so desire.
Tire clearance improves a bit too. Although no specifics have been given besides “huge clearance” for “wider tires” & 35mm tires on some complete builds. So that’s a bit vague until we see one in person. It also gets a new built-in clamp for the 31.6mm seatpost. Then a rubber cover to keep mud and water out of the frame tops it off, dubbed Das Boot Tech.
There’s more acronyms in store for the return of stealthy fender mounting. SASSY (Secret Attachable Seat Stay Yoke) clips onto the seatstay bridge and NINJA and BOiL threaded bosses (just humor Norco; they stand for something) at the dropouts mean you can mount standard fenders. They certainly won’t turn this race bike into a daily commuter. But fenders will keep you dry while you are out training before race day.
The Threshold C will be available as a $1800 frameset (frame & fork) or in four complete bike builds in its six size range: 48-60.5cm.
The Threshhold C also comes in a $6900 SRAM Red eTap build with Easton EC90SL carbon tubular wheels & Clement MXPs glued up. Yes, that is a eTap configuration without a front derailleur. Officially that is possible, although SRAM doesn’t encourage it because they feel that 1x setups need a clutched rear derailleur for proper chain retention. We’ve reached out to see if SRAM has any comment on this spec. Or there’s the $4200 Force 1 build (seen in the details above) that still gets EA90SL tubeless carbon wheels.
A Rival 1 complete bike that comes with tubeless ready aluminum wheels from Alex should be coming soon. Or there is a $2600 Shimano 105 hydro disc double build with WTB i19 rims for a more all-around ride.
Norco Threshold A aluminum cyclocross bikes
At the same time as seeing the Threshold C for carbon, there is a new family of Threshold A for aluminum bikes too. They get the same geometry updates, the new 12mm thru-axles & flat mount discs, plus an oversized spine with curved ARC Race seatstays, and Gizmo internal routing.
The Threshold A is available in three complete builds. A $1700 Apex 1 top those out with hydraulic brakes. For $1250 you get a Tiagra double with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. At just $1200 an aluminum singlespeed build with TRP Hylex hydraulic brakes is also available.
The bikes are all 2018 models, but Norco knows you want to get your cross bikes soon to race. So these are all officially early release bikes, and should be showing up in Norco shops soon.